The 100,000th production Lotus is a one-off Jim Clark Trust Evora GT410 Sport, personally approved by Hazel Chapman, widow of company founder Colin Chapman.
Colin Chapman built his first competition car in 1948, based on an Austin Seven, and formed Lotus Engineering four years later using £50 loaned to him by his future wife, Hazel. In 1953, he put the Lotus Mark VI into limited production, which was followed by the famous Seven in 1957. One year, and quite a few prototypes later, Team Lotus entered Formula One, with Graham Hill driving and Climax as engine supplier.
Chapman died of a heart attack on December 16, 1982 at the age of 54, by which time Team Lotus had won the F1 World Championship seven times. But the company’s road-car division just kept building to get by, often hanging on life-support.
With Geely’s backing, though, Lotus is on stable ground again, celebrating its 70th anniversary in style with this bright red Evora, its 100,000th production car.
Without rudely throwing Ford F-150 production figures into the picture, let’s just note that 100,000 cars built in 70 years equals an average of 1428.5 cars per year. That’s not far off from Lotus’ current performance, given that in 2017, its global sales are at 1600 cars. Lotus expects a serious sales boost from its upcoming crossover, as well as the new Elise line from 2020. The good news is that Lotus already made a profit before CEO Jean-Marc Gales was replaced by Geely board member Qingfeng Feng.
When Porsche made its millionth 911 last year, it claimed “more than 70 percent of all 911s are still out there in the world.”
Scrolling through my contents of the “Street parked in London, 2008” folder suggests the same survival ratio might not apply to Lotus. But that’s okay, because modern Lotuses are much better built, not to mention this one-off Jim Clark Trust Lotus Evora GT410 Sport has a supercharged V6, and no body fat. It was also inspired by the very first Lotus Elan, driven by Clark in the 1960s.